screenshot210 Elyssa Friedland’s debut novel, Love and Miss Communication is one that can easily have you nodding your head in empathy or cringing slightly because of how all-to-familiar the characters seem.

From the publisher’s summary:
Evie Rosen has had enough. She’s tired of the partners at her law firm e-mailing her at all hours of the night. The thought of another online date makes her break out in a cold sweat. She’s over the clever hashtags and the endless selfies. So when her career hits a surprising roadblock and her heart is crushed by Facebook, Evie decides it’s time to put down her smartphone for good. (Beats stowing it in her underwear—she’s done that too!)

And that’s when she discovers a fresh start for real conversations, fewer distractions, and living in the moment, even if the moments are heartbreakingly difficult. Babies are born; marriages teeter; friendships are tested. Evie just may find love and a new direction when she least expects it, but she also learns that just because you unplug your phone doesn’t mean you can unplug from life.

Let’s face it, I’m writing this on a laptop with my iPad charging to my left and my iPhone resting to my right. The Facebook tab in my Chrome browser shows 20 unread notifications. We’re a big group of uber-connected people.

And how beneficial is it for us to be so plugged in? I’ve never googled a prospective date, although friends of mine have. I try to keep Facebook lighthearted and entertaining, low on political and religious thought. Still, I post nearly every day and my cousin’s husband teases me when I’m not first to like or comment on his status updates.  So, I get Evie in some relationship to her hyper-connectivity.

But I also get Evie in some of her less desirable traits- like perhaps being too quick to judge a date over some stupid, superficial reason. There were times I was so exasperated with Evie that I wanted to shake her, but those were the times I most often glimpsed facets of myself. I take that as Friedland really understanding her characters’ strengths and foibles. It makes the characters relatable.

I saw the ending coming for a while, but that doesn’t detract from the story.  It’s OK to me that every book doesn’t throw out a mind-boggling, unpredictable trick, but that’s only when the author makes a somewhat predictable ending one that is authentic. It rings with doubt and questions, some soul-searching. Potentially analyzing that part of ourselves we don’t really want to explore.

Friedland gives us relatable characters and an interesting path to the book’s conclusion. Angst, but no melodrama, which is my preference.

This will make a great summer read!